Friday 25 August 2006

New Unsubscribe Button in Windows Live (née Hotmail)

ClickZ' Rebecca Lieb reports on the Windows Live Unsubscribe button:

Ironic as it may sound, commercial e-mailers are jubilant about a new feature Microsoft's rolling out: an "unsubscribe" button.

The button is part of Windows Live, the beta service that will replace Hotmail in a few months. If it's as successful as many anticipate, expect similar changes at the other major ISPs.

Here's how it works: Windows Live account holders have begun to see the "unsubscribe" button replace the dreaded "report spam" button on messages that contain a valid unsubscribe link. When a person clicks the "unsubscribe" button, Microsoft forwards the request to the sender.
Not sure what I think about this. Microsoft claims to be protecting against listwashing, as only "legitimate" senders get the unsubscribe button. Then again, do we trust Microsoft's view of who's legitimate?

Note that if MS thinks the sender is legit., you don't get to see a Report Spam button.

Monday 21 August 2006

Email Cryptography Helps Avoid Bad Debts

If a credit card company were to send statements by email, it might be able to identify which of its customers are getting into financial difficulties. That's the interesting claim made by email encryption company Identum.

The argument goes like this: when card issuers send paper statements to people, they're usually opened quickly. However, when people are getting into financial trouble, they often go into denial. This causes them to ignore card statements, putting them in a pile somewhere, unopened.

What if the card issuer had some way of knowing that statements were going unread? That would be an early warning that there's a problem. This of course relies on card issuers having two important capabilities:

  • A secure way of emailing sending statements to customers
  • A reliable way of getting read receipts back
But what about online banking? Wouldn't people prefer to just read their statements online? Some would, but others seem to prefer to have statements "pushed" to them in email.